28 May 2018
In Nigeria today, various Citizens have answered the call to stand in solemn solidarity with one too many Nigerian Citizens have been killed by the senseless violence that has occurred in Nigeria in recent years. Alongside our primary focus on advocacy for the Chibok Girls, 112 of whom have been missing for 1,505 days today, our movement has long said that “injustice to one, is injustice to all”. And so today, we too recognise this day as a National Day of Mourning and Remembrance. We add our voice to those of other Citizens and civil society organisations as we state our firm objection to the nature and level of killings across Nigeria. Our sit-out today is dedicated to this National Day of Mourning and Remembrance in honour of those lost through violence. Indeed, one death is one too many and each person lost must be accorded the full respect of our Nation.
Since 2014, our movement has on many occasions recorded cases of widespread violence that have left regrettable loss of lives in their wake on a scale that is absolutely unacceptable. We have in the strongest terms, repeatedly condemned the violence and the lapses that have not stopped the tragic incidences, through our statements and actions. At our daily sit-outs, we observe a minute of silent prayers for our Chibok Girls and those affected by acts of violence against other Citizens – especially those killed.
As is widely known, the lives lost due to violent attacks run well into the thousands and all those lost may never be known to us. Alarmingly, these deaths seem to be incessant and on the increase without much sign of actions being taken to address the underlying issues and prevent even more occurrences in the near future. Regrettably, many communities that have witnessed such attacks and are reeling with deep pains remain unprotected from repeat attacks. Many others who have not suffered such outcomes wait in fear and anxiety of whether such violence will also affect them directly in such a way. This terrible state of uncertainty does not allow for lives to be lived in normalcy. Instead, conditions and expectations of anything beyond basic survival are pushed to mere hopes and dreams. We ask how this can be said to be normal or acceptable in a Country that has a Government that is tasked with a duty and primary responsibility of the protection of lives and properties.
For every death, there have also been family members, friends and associates as well as communities that have been devastated and deeply affected by the losses of loved ones. We also remember them today and pray for succour and healing for them all. We sympathise with those left behind today especially.
Our demands today in relation to the killings are as follows:
1. That the Government and all Nigerian Citizens also recognise today as a Day of Mourning and Remembrance in honour of Citizens. That the relevant Government agencies conduct the necessary investigations to determine the lives lost, causal factors and guilty perpetrators.
2. That swift action be taken to bring those culpable for these killings to justice. Strong messages must be sent to everyone by the apprehension of those responsible by security agencies and prosecutions in the relevant courts of law to serve as a deterrent and deliver justice to those in pain.
3. Immediate and effective measures within the security structures be implemented and operated to prevent further loss of lives. Multi-level and multi-stakeholder consultations should be conducted with a view to understanding the situation and immediately followed by resultant efforts taken to put a complete stop to the killings.
4. Welfare systems be deployed nationally to support those hurt by the killings across Nigeria. Attention must paid to the mental and psychosocial states of the many Citizens, young and old, that have witnessed killings or been affected by deaths to support the healing that is necessary.
As a Nation, these actions will bring us closer to the deserved respect of the many who have tragically lost their lives by ensuring that they are not forgotten or lost in vain. In closing, we reiterate our strong condemnation of killings, call for immediate actions and mourning and remembrance in honour of our lost Citizens.
Signed: For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls